Source:Henley, Thomas Shaw. Descendants of Thomas Skillin of Falmouth (Now Portland), Maine and Allied Families

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Source Descendants of Thomas Skillin of Falmouth (Now Portland), Maine and Allied Families
Author Henley, Thomas Shaw
Coverage
Place Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States
Surname Allen, Arrowsmith, Bailey, Bartlett, Berry, Blackstone, Brackett, Broad, Burnell, Cooper, Davis, Doane, Dunn, Edwards, Fickett, Goodwin, Goss, Harmon, Henley, Hicks, Huston, Knowlton, Larrabee, Libby, Noble, Plummer, Roberts, Rowe, Sanborn, Sanders, Sargent, Sawyer, Shaw, Skillin, Small, Trott, Warren
Subject Family tree
Publication information
Type Book
Date issued March 2010
Place issued Tavares, Florida
Citation
Henley, Thomas Shaw. Descendants of Thomas Skillin of Falmouth (Now Portland), Maine and Allied Families. (Tavares, Florida, March 2010).

Quoting from the website http://skillinhome.com, this is "the long awaited genealogy of the Skillin/Skillings Family in America. The Magnum Opus by Thomas Shaw Henley is available on DVD".

Thomas Shaw Henley is the premier current researcher of the Skillin family and this is the update of his 2000 edition. He works with most of the prominent Skillin researchers and this contains input from most of them.


Comment: I was eagerly awaiting this work to set a higher standard for the Skillin family. William Sargent said in the preface to his 1885 article on the family "Thomas Skillings deserves better of the record-makers of today, than to be handed down to coming readers with such an imperfect list of his many energetic and enterprising descendants...", and then Sargent promptly preceded to create his own improved set of myths about the family, some palpably false but still being propagated today thanks to the Internet. So, there is a serious need for a definitive work on the family. Perhaps I was hoping for too much out of this work, hoping it could be the Skillin equivalent of The Libby Family in America (which, incidentally, is cited often, as the two families are closely interconnected). But to be frank, I don't think it achieves this.

It is huge (1898 pages, over 9000 entries), a massive undertaking containing vast amounts of useful information, and sorting out some of the previous myths. There is yet no proof of the origins of Thomas Skillin, and while the author's belief in English origins is clearly indicated, so is the lack or proof. There is a great letter from Charles T. Libby that is instrumental in sorting out two early Benjamin Skillins merged by early researchers, and then straightened out exactly backwards by Sargent.

This source provides footnotes giving sources for all facts. However, many of the sources cited are the 2000 edition, so if you don't have that edition, you are left clueless as to the basis for some assertions. Further, it seems to ignore a couple of the points of the Genealogical Proof Standard, notably the point about the exhaustive survey and the point about explaining away competing theories. With a few exceptions, most the data seems to be presented as if it was clear-cut, and disagreeing sources are not mentioned or discussed (i.e, church records differ from town records by a year, why was one chosen, the other not mentioned?), nor is explanation provided to justify some apparent oddities (i.e., the eldest child born 20+ years after the parents' marriage?). Were such things noticed? If so, what was the analysis that led to choosing the one? Further I have run across numerous apparent typos and confusion between like-named individuals (e.g., same spouse attached to two different individuals, etc.), perhaps inevitable in a work this large, but troublesome none the less.

On the whole, the number of wills and deeds referenced or abstracted is less than might have been hoped, as they are so reassuring, if not critical, when sorting out tangled masses of cousins all living in a small area. Perhaps, the fault lies with the massive scope, sheer mathematics making it difficult to apply such focused study to each individual unless required to get by some roadblock (excepting the first generation or two). So, for someone trying to find their way in the Skillin family, this will be invaluable giving them a quick orientation. But for those further along, there may still be the need to do some digging on your own to establish connections to levels approaching proof. --Jrich 12:10, 5 August 2010 (EDT)

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